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By J.R. Brower

After a year of being postponed due to the pandemic, the Whiskey Rebellion Festival returned again in downtown Washington, PA along South Main Street on July 10. The normally 4-day event was condensed into one beautiful summer Saturday with lots of events and activities at the Festival Stage area, David Bradford House, the Frontier History Center and the LeMoyne House and Garden around the corner on East Maiden Street.

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Washington Business District Authority rep Cydney Putnam greeted visitors at the pavilion to promote the city and the Whiskey Rebellion Festival.

The well-attended event included, old-time Appalachian music groups, food and beverages, presentations and tours of the historic home of one of 1794 rebellion leaders, David Bradford who challenged the fairness of the new government’s whiskey excise tax.

Protesting the excise tax by Western Pennsylvania farmers had begun in 1791, when they and their leaders showed forceful opposition against federal tax agents who had come to collect from poor frontier farmers, whose main source of income came from the whiskey they distilled.

To help celebrate the Whiskey Rebellion Festival, seven musical groups from the area performed including Devilish Merry, Snapping Bug String Band, Robin and Bob, Glass Run Road, Sweaty Already String Band and The Jakobs Ferry Stragglers. Along with music, guests were served by numerous food and beverage vendors as well as volunteers with frontier hospitality. The event exhibited many of the area’s top history sites and was represented by many local educational organizations.

The Washington Business District Authority was on hand to publicize their new logo and slogan “Downtown Washington, Small City, Big Life”.

“We’re here to let people know how important our city was historically, and we want to promote downtown Washington,” explained Cydney Putnam, a summer intern and WVU senior, who introduced and sold “DW” caps and t-shirts.

Other organizations represented included the Washington County History and Landmarks Foundation, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Duncan and Miller Glass Museum, National Road Heritage Corridor, Friendship Hill Historical Site, the Oliver Miller Homestead and the Greene County Historical Society.

For more information on the Washington Whiskey Rebellion landmarks, please contact the Bradford House Museum, 724-222-3604 (bradfordhouse.org) and/or the LeMoyne House, 724-225-6740 (wchspa.org).

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